Beishan International Jazz Festival, China, 19-20 October 2012
The BIJF is still a baby, but something of a precocious one. This young Chinese audience was clearly open to all the music on offer, and it enjoyed a wide cross section of jazz, stretching from its early incarnations as dance and Broadway-inspired popular music, through the revolution that was bebop to more modern urban rhythms beloved of a younger generation. In addition, the Beishan Theater reverberated to the cross-pollination of jazz with world folk music, and left-field jazz-rock, which, whilst not at all resembling the first wave of jazz-rock in the late 1960s and early 1970s, nevertheless shared a similar spirit of adventure.
If, after two rather eclectic days' music, the Chinese festival goers, aged 18-25 in the main, were left scratching their heads as to what exactly jazz is, they needn't worry-so is almost everybody else. All jazz's styles since the beginning of the 20th century can be heard today in concert, all over the world. There is much overlapping of styles and there should be room for all.
Jazz is perhaps most simply defined as an approach to making music, with whatever tools are at hand. The Beishan jazz audience seems to appreciate that. Its open-mindedness and enthusiasm for the music is probably the biggest factor that will draw all manner of musicians to play here in the future, thus ensuring the continued growth of this wonderful little festival.
Tweet: "Thanks Beishan for giving me two wonderful days!"
Ian Patterson: page 1, bottom; pages 2,5 top; page 7.
All other photos: Xiaojing Lee